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This article addresses means of expressing and implying emotions (Langlotz, Locher 2012) in realizations of impoliteness in written discourse thematizing language and identity in Croatian and Montenegrin media in 2010 and 2011. Realizations of impoliteness often relate to communicating an emotional stance that can trigger emotional responses in readers. Our discourse sample can be described as “disputes about language and identity” (cf. Felberg, Šarić 2013), which is largely characterized by conflictual disagreements. Conflictual disagreements, as Jones (2001) or Langlotz and Locher (2012) put it, do not leave one cold in face-to-face interaction: they arouse feelings of annoyance, irritation, anger, or contempt directed to the communicative partner. These observations are relevant in our context, although we deal with written discourse. The main participants in our data include well-known intellectuals, journalists, and editors. They all defend or attaca a position in discussing, among other things, “how similar ‘our’ language (Croatian/Montenegrin) is to ‘their’ language” (Serbian), and “what makes this language (Croatian/Montenegrin) a distinctive and independent entity”. These participants clearly position themselves in relation to other participants. Their positioning of the self and the other person involves negative identity-ascribing practices. Taking into consideration parameters such as the role of participants in discourse and society, context, co-text, and activity types in which discourse participants engaged, we identified various highly context-dependent types and functions of impoliteness realizations (cf. Šarić, Felberg 2015). Contrary to our expectations, the participants in the media discourse in both countries frequently use impoliteness both strategically and systematically while defending their positions. The impoliteness realizations point to emotively significant places in discourse. Their use has several functions: a prominent one is coercion through legitimizing one’s own standpoints and delegitimizing those of one’s opponents.
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